Monarto Zoo zebra herd mourns day-old foal

Monarto Zoo staff and volunteers are in mourning after a newborn zebra had to be euthanised only a day after being born there.

In a statement, the zoo described the loss as "a very unexpected and sad shock".

The foal, who was not named and whose sex was not immediately known, was born to mother Gina overnight last Wednesday and discovered by keepers when they arrived on Thursday morning.

In the hours after its birth, the foal had been suckling and behaving normally.

However, on Friday the zoo issued a second, sombre statement.

Keepers had noticed the baby zebra was struggling to stand up, and after an examination, vets found it had sustained an injury that would "drastically" affect its quality of life.

They decided euthanising it would be the most humane course of action.

The zoo speculated that the foal may have been accidentally injured by an adult.

"In the wild, zebras can be quite boisterous," the statement said.

"It is possible it was caught amongst the adults."

As a species, plains zebras are not threatened in their native habitat, the savannah of eastern and southern Africa; though their numbers are decreasing due to the demand for their meat and skins.

About 700,000 are left in the wild.

The zoo had previously welcomed the birth of another zebra foal, Intengo, to seven-year-old mother Kali in October.

An infant chimpanzee was also born there in February, and a baby southern white rhino arrived in November.